Thursday, April 1, 2010
Today is Pittsburgh's "Transportation Freedom Day"-- the date a typical household in the Pittsburgh area has earned enough money to cover their transportation costs for the year. The Pennsylvania Public Interest Group, or PennPIRG crunches numbers to determine a region, city or neighborhood's "freedom day." Field Organizer Catherine Ngo says they use an area's median income and the annual transportation costs to calculate how much of a household's budget goes toward transportation. She says on average in Pittsburgh, about 25% of a household's income goes towards transportation costs. Ngo says a neighborhood's freedom date can vary from surrounding areas. For instance, Shadyside, with its access to public transportation and walkable streets had its freedom day February 28, for the suburban neighborhood of Aliquippa it's April 6. She says a study by the American Public Transportation Association showed the typical Pittsburgh resident could save more than $8,000 a year by switching from driving to public transit in 2010. Ngo says they wanted to shed light on the issue because spending money on transit comes piecemeal and people don't necessarily see the big picture.